Plan calls for more aid for disabled

Updated: 2011-06-10 07:37

By He Dan (China Daily)

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BEIJING - China will strive in the next five years to improve the rehabilitation services offered to the disabled and to make such benefits free for children under the age of 6, according to a plan released by the China Disabled Persons' Federation on Thursday.

The plan concerning disabled residents calls on China to build more rehabilitation centers in communities during the period of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), which has been ratified by the State Council.

The government is also to help carry out rehabilitation projects aimed at assisting the disabled overcome specific disabilities and to provide 5 million rehabilitation devices. Estimates hold that 13 million disabled persons will benefit from the measures by the end of 2015.

Statistics from the federation show that only about a third of the 83 million disabled people living in China have received rehabilitation services so far.

And disabled Chinese still find it difficult to obtain adequate incomes, a good education and employment.

In households that contain a disabled person, the income made is equal on average to only 60 percent of what other families bring in. Nearly 30 percent of disabled children have not attended school. And more than half of disabled persons cannot find a job - even in doing work they are competent in.

Mu Ge, a 29-year-old law school graduate, had been turned down by several employers before he ended up at a Beijing nonprofit organization that helps other disabled persons find jobs.

His difficulties stemmed from a fire he was burned in when he was 7. The accident ruined five of his fingers and left disfiguring scars on his face.

"I once did an internship for a government department in Beijing for a month," Mu said. "But the leaders of that organization told me that they could not offer me a position because they were worried that my appearance would scare off clients."

Mu now earns fewer than 2,000 yuan ($309) a month, which is much less than the average salary in Beijing, which stood at 4,200 yuan a month last year.

"At the beginning, I felt angry about the unfair treatment," Mu said. "But now, I realize that almost all disabled persons face the same difficulties when they look for jobs."

Lu Jun, an anti-discrimination activist from the Beijing Yirenping Center, a non-government organization working for social justice, said that China contains too few buildings that are free from the sort of barriers that make it difficult, if not impossible, for a disabled person to go to work.

The China Disabled Persons' Federation will look for more ways to help the disabled get to workplaces, said Cheng Kai, vice-president of the federation.

The federation will establish about 1,000 vocational training centers, where the disabled can come to hone various abilities.

It will provide more of the tax cuts and other incentives that now go in some places to employers that hire the disabled, he said.

And the federation plans to work on eliminating obstacles that prevent some people from using public transport, Cheng said.


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